Councils' duties to homeless people include a statutory responsibility to anyone threatened with, or experiencing, homelessness.
By law, councils must offer a minimum of advice, assistance and temporary accommodation to all homeless households and those at risk of homelessness. For example, they must assess the levels of homelessness in their area and provide information and advice about homelessness, free of charge.
Code of Guidance on Homelessness
Councils must take account of the statutory Code of Guidance on Homelessness when delivering services.
The Code consists of practical guidance on how the legislation and related policies should be implemented. It also reflects best practice for other agencies and individuals, including registered social landlords (RSLs), elected council members and other council officials, as well as a range of others involved in tackling homelessness in the statutory and voluntary sectors.
Updates to the Code
The following updates to the Code of Guidance must also be considered by councils:
- Homelessness Prevention Guidance (2009) to help them develop services and embed an early intervention approach
- Guidance on the Best Interests of Children (2011)
Guidance on Housing Support Duty to Homeless Households
The Guidance on Housing Support Duty to Homeless Households came into force in June 2013. It was introduced following the 2012 commitment that all unintentionally homeless households in Scotland will be entitled to settled accommodation. The guidance helps councils comply with the duty and achieve the best possible outcomes for homelessness households in their area.
Landlords' and creditors' responsiblities when possessing a home
Landlords and creditors must notify the relevant council when they raise proceedings for possession of a home. This was introduced by Section 11(1) of the Homelessness etc (Scotland) Act 2003 and came into force in 2009.
Regulations specify the form and manner of notice which must be provided. See The Notice to Local Authorities (Scotland) Regulations 2008 (SSI 2008/324) for more information.